The dazzling new world of glass-walled architecture won a surprising convert in october 1954. In Manhattan the Manufacturers Trust Company, one of the biggest banking institutions in the U.S. (assets: $3 billion in 1954), opened a Fifth Avenue office. Walled with glass from top to bottom, the five-story building reveals to passers-by such wonders as a 1,000 ton vault 10 feet from the sidewalk and a six-ton decorative screen made of metal. The bank told its architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merill, who designed Lever House that it wanted an "inviting look". To make sure the look stays that way, window washers have now begun a never-ending job of cleaning the glass every day.

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images and info provided by the LIFE Magazine / LIFE Magazine International / LIFE Magazine Atlantic ARCHIVE from the Zetu Harrys Collection